As I write this, I am getting a live feed from Parliament, thanks to CITI-FM97.3, of the proceedings leading up to the discussions on the budget. Yes, for the first time ever, Finance minister Baah-Wiredu is reading the budget a month ahead of time. Usually, the budget is delivered in February the following year. News reports this morning were indicating that he has lived up to the constitution.
Accra has been interesting off-late.
What with the taking off of Ghana International Airlines late October this year. Speculation became rife that because GIA was selling tickets to London at $398 plus taxes, Lufthansa and British Airways were slashing their prices, too. In fact, KLM, in tune with its 45th celebration of flying to Ghana, is selling its tickets st $450 to...anywhere in the world.
No, I'm not prepared to do any dubious advertising; I want GIA to succeed, even if 30% is owned by a consortium, with government of Ghana owning the rest. But, for me, it represents exciting times in the country and the aviation industry, especially with Ghana considering itself the gateway to Africa and, I hear anecdotal evidence that Nigeria is...the destination;-)
Latest news from my personal side is that, God willing, I will be en route to Tunis, Tunisia, by way of Italy this evening. I'm off, with my colleague, to attend the UN Summit World Summit on Information Society (http://www.itu.int/wsis). There will be a myriad of side events taking place and it promises to be an interesting eleven nights in North Africa. Another colleague at work has suggested that I read some history on the country so that the place comes alive, once we get there. Seeing as diplomatic history is a major area of interest to me(especially 1815-1914--pls check: http://writing_center.tripod.com/pol211/pol211-index.htm) , I was out to the 'Net and the printer in a flash printing everything and anything I will pretend to read while contemporraneously dosing under my specs...:-)
Now, back after an hour and a bit of of two mini-meetings, it is now lunch time, and I'm getting butterflies in my stomach. I'm preparing to go down to Alitalia to get me and my colleagues transit visa through Italy.
Just now, the live feed on the reading of the budget by Baah-Wiredu, Ghana's finance minister, is making uncomfortable hearing.
First, there will be considerable tax breaks for companies. Just the type of things many NGOs, like Third World Network-Africa here are campaigning against in the light of the campaign against the Minerals and Mining Bill that is currently in parliament. You can obtain an insight into the campaign at this link here: http://www.twnafrica.org/news_detail.asp?twnID=847
Thankfully, tracking of goods by our CEPS (Customs, Excise, Preventive Service) will be intensified. CEPS is one of the biggest collectors of revenue for the state through goods that come into the country.
On a lighter side, which, frankly, is ironic, I got home yesterday evening to darkness that had fallen.
It would continue to be dark up until 3am this morning. I know it wasn't earlier, because I woke up around 2am for a pee and it was still dark outside with only the beautiful moonlight lighting up the area, and houses.
Mosquitoes were not too bad this time as we lit the coils earlier. I heard on the radio that the lights were going to come back around 10pm. Alas, no.
We ended up using our silent generator to watch tv for a good two hours or so. We caight Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, as per usual, on Ghana's TV3. Buffy has been showing for a few months now, and I find myself enjoying it. Yesterday's episode involved Buffy's ex-boyfriend seeking to be a vampire, as well as immortality. So he decides to sacrifice Buffy to a hard-nosed vampire who goes by the name of Spike, who tags along with what has been described as a "criminally-insane" sensual-yet-dangerous vampire. (Episode 5V06)
Back in Brussels, I always changed the channel when I saw it on BBC2.
Reality is very much different these days!!:-)
BTW, I check up on detailed programming on buffy at this link here: http://www.buffyguide.com/episodes/episodes2.shtml